Billie’s Story

I am a 29 (soon to be 30) year old mom of two kids, ages 5 and 2. I’ve known I had ADD since I was little but was never formally tested until a few months ago. Unlike many of the stories I’ve read, I performed extremely well in school, especially in math. I was always an honor student, involved in just about every extracurricular activity I could handle. The only hiccups I had through school were admonishments by teachers telling me to calm down, quit blurting out answers or interrupting, or to be quieter. I was so jittery that I rocked in my chair, which I still do to this day. I felt guilty about being disciplined so I made extra efforts to behave. However, as hard as I tried to be the model student at school, I was a disaster waiting to happen at home. Focusing for so long during the day caused mental breakdown by the time I stepped off the bus. It was extremely difficult to contain the hurricane that had been churning inside once the business of school was over. Thankfully my mother kept a strict routine concerning homework, dinner, and bedtime. I was also lucky enough to have a huge yard to run around in and expel all of the pent-up energy that had accumulated during the course of my day. Looking back, both of my brothers and my sister were as hyper as I was, if not more so. As you could guess, living with 4 of us was no picnic.

College was just as hectic for me, except I didn’t have the strict routine my mother had kept. I was involved in many different organizations and wondered why some other students couldn’t do what I was doing. I thought they weren’t putting forth an effort; I didn’t realize that my hyperfocusing could lead me to do a gazillion things at one time. Being a theatre major allowed me unconventional ways of learning. There were more visual and hands-on approaches, which suited me just fine because I’ve always had problems sitting still and listening in a normal classroom setting. Again, I did quite well academically, though if I put forth any concerted effort, I could’ve graduated with top honors.

My coping strategies were sufficient to get me by until I had children. The duties of motherhood are never-ending and I found myself drowning in all the stuff I had to do and never got around to doing. I remember my friend telling me once my infant son smelled like spoiled milk and realized I hadn’t bathed him in days. It’s little things like that that pile up and soon become suffocating. My husband kept telling me things over and over and it was like I was tuning him out…which I wasn’t doing intentionally, but he didn’t know that. He thought I didn’t care enough to listen. Needless to say, there were many fights about things he had told me that I said he didn’t, even though he very well may have. Finally, after losing things, forgetting important appointments until the last minute, and the constant state of panic I was living in, I decided enough was enough and went to get confirmation on what I already knew—that I was ADD. However, be careful which doctor you visit because some don’t believe ADD exists.

I was lucky enough to get one of these doctors. He asked me why I thought I had ADD, and before I could finish my story, he interrupted and told me I was wrong—based on the fact that I finished college and didn’t have numerous children out of wedlock. The nerve of that man!! I was shocked, to say the least. I said that ADD people could be successful and he had the gall to stare me in the face and say that ADD only afflicted deviants and bad students. He said I was suffering from anxiety. I was so mad when I left his office, I forgot to pick up my son at preschool! Of course I reported him and went to a different doctor who did diagnose me correctly.

She put me on Strattera and I’ve been taking it for almost two months now. I’m not seeing any visible results yet but I’ve heard it takes a few weeks or even months for Strattera to kick in fully. I go back in two weeks and we’ll work on my dosage regiment then. My advice to anyone who might think he/she might be ADD, you probably have good instincts. Go get checked out by a doctor who specializes or knows a great deal about ADD to confirm your suspicions. I’m glad I did.